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Student finance, fees and costs

Studying isn’t the only thing you need to think about before going to university

You’ve made it into uni? Great. You’ve got past the first hurdle; now it’s time to look at some ways you can stay on top of your money while your head’s in your books. Here are some tips on how to budget while you’re in full-time education.

Prepping for student life

Opening a student account

There’ll be some things you’ll want to sort out before your first day at university. You’ll want new stationery, new pots and pans, new bedding – and a student account.

Student accounts are like standard accounts, but they sometimes come with interest-free overdrafts and freebies like railcards. An interest-free overdraft means you pay back no more than you borrow – but you should always check how long an overdraft will stay interest-free and what the charges are after that changes.

Student account overdrafts are a form of borrowing, so bear in mind your credit score will be considered when applying. Your credit score can determine how much overdraft you'll be offered, so it’ll help to know your score and take steps to improve it.

It’s good to have a look around at different banks to make sure you’re happy with the features that’ll come with your new account – take a look at our student account for starters.

Budgeting your student loan

Going to university might be the first time you’ve lived away from home – and the first time you might’ve had to budget. Costs like accommodation and household essentials are all big pieces of your student loan pie, so you’ll need to budget well before you set foot on campus.

You’ll never get your budget completely accurate until you’ve spent some time at uni, but it helps to guesstimate your cost of living after adding up your groceries, travel, university resources like books, and other things you’ll need to buy regularly. 

Budgeting at uni

Student loans are a popular way of funding your way through uni – they cover tuition fees and they offer loans and grants to help with day-to-day costs.

Whether you go through the popular route of Student Finance (UK), or fund your course another way, it’s always important to live within your means. As a student, you might not have income from work, unless you have a part-time job, but you may have income from student loans, grants, and contributions from family. To make a budget, you should try to work out how much income you’ll have each week or month at the start of each term.

Affording student life

Sometimes, student loans aren’t enough to cover your expenses. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can live within your means. 

1. Increase your income

If you’ve got time, getting a part-time job might be a good idea. For a few hours a week, or even outside of your term time, you could make a significant difference to your budget.

2. Reduce your spending

Take a look at your expenses. Are there any areas you could cut down? Fewer nights out could save you a lot more than you realise. Swapping branded groceries for supermarket own brands could also make a difference.

3. Speak to an adviser

If you’re in doubt, there’s usually a financial adviser on campus to talk you through any concerns or questions you might have. In most cases, they can help you plan and manage your budget. 

No matter how you fund your university experience, it’s important that you spend and save the right way. This is especially true when you start working – some people may find it difficult to budget after having been a student. Managing your money throughout uni gives you the head start you’ll need for life after full-time education.

Money management

How to improve your financial health

Develop your money-management skills with our easy-to-follow guides on budgeting, saving, planning for the future and handling debt.

Better budgeting

From plotting your personal budget to nailing down the family’s finances, plan ahead with our guides to smart spending

Student Additions Account

An account that walks the walk

Be the master of your budget with our award-winning student account. With the Barclays app2 you can categorise your spending, set limits and temporarily freeze your debit card.

A budgeting guide for everyone

Six easy tips for everyday money management

Finances are different for everyone, but there are some tips that work for us all – let’s explore some of them.